Photographs by: Taylor Renee Photography
Health Optimization Portfolio Evaluation (HOPE)
Presentations of educational seminars on every aspect of immune response in infectious disease.
Advocacy for vaccine injury legal cases worldwide.
Research and documentation on medical exemptions for vaccinations.
was born in Boston Massachusetts in 1943. He earned a PhD in microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1972.
For the next 42 years
earned a BA in Chemistry with a specialization in biology from the University of Virginia in 1980 and a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University in 1992.
(3 years as a post-doctoral fellow at Pittsburgh Medical School and 39 at the National Cancer Institute) he studied the mechanisms of immunobiology, retrovirology, stem cell biology and immune responses while developing considerable expertise in these areas. His pioneering work was as a co-discoverer of interleukin-2, interleukin-5, and interleukin-15 (although all these designations were subsequent to their discovery). These discoveries were key to the understanding of T cell immunology, cytokine regulation of inflammation and efficacy and toxicity of immune therapy. His paper on T cell growth factor was awarded the American Association of Immunologists 2nd most important publication of the first hundred years of publications. He was also a co-discoverer of human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV1), the first disease causing human retrovirus which led to the rapid discovery of HIV and enabled the development of drugs to prevent and treat infection, likely preventing many deaths from HIV/AIDS. For this, he received an award for the “Development of the Field of Human Retrovirology” from the International Retrovirology Association. Dr. Ruscetti is also the co-discoverer of the regulatory effects of transforming growthfactor-beta on hematopoietic stem cells. His was the first demonstration of long term growth of human cord blood stem cells. In 1991, he was awarded the NIH Distinguished Service Award “inrecognition of fundamental co-discoveries of Interleukin-2, the first human leukemia virus, and for the discovery of hematopoietic regulatory activities of transforming growth factor beta”. Furthermore, his co-discovery of the differentiation of acute promyelocytic leukemia led to the first biological cure of a human leukemia. Critical to the theories on how retroviruses cause neuroimmune, autoimmune, hematopoietic disease and cancer is his 1994 seminal publication demonstrating alteration of DNA methyltransferase and the subsequent dysregulation of Interferon gamma by retroviral expression without the requirement of infectious virus and his seminal publication in 2008 on HTLV-1 infection and dysregulation of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDC), which inhibited the production of interferon alpha. In 2010 he extended this key mechanism of pathogenesis of HTLV-1 to the HGRVs. Dr. Ruscetti has co-authored more than 325 peer reviewed publications and book chapters.
Upon graduation from UVA, she went directly to the National Cancer Institute in Frederick Maryland where she developed purification methods for Interferon alpha. It was this Interferon which was used in the first immune therapy treatment for hairy cell leukemia in 1986. In 1986-7, prior to enrolling in graduate school. she went to Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in Kalamazoo Michigan to develop production methods to insure biological materials manufactured using human blood products were free of contamination from HIV-1. Her PhD thesis defense entitled “Negative Regulation of HIV Expression in Monocytes” changed the paradigm for therapeutic treatment of HIV. For this work, she was awarded the graduate student of the year in 1991. In her thirty-five-year quest to understand and develop therapies for chronic diseases, she has co-authored seminal papers culminating at least a decade of research in each of four fields: immunology, natural products chemistry, epigenetics, and HIV/AIDs drug development. In 2006, Dr. Mikovits became attracted to the plight of families with neuroimmune diseases including ME/CFS and Autism and was primarily responsible for demonstrating the relationship between environmentally acquired immune dysfunction, chronic inflammation and these diseases. Her pioneering work during a twenty year career at the National Cancer Institute includes the discovery of the modulation of DNA Methylation machinery by human retro viral infection and the development of the concept of inflammatory cytokines and chemokine signatures of infection and disease, which was first published in 1999, when Dr. Mikovits directed the Laboratory of Antiviral Drug Mechanisms in developing therapeutics and diagnostics for HIV/AIDS and AIDS associated malignancies. Therapies which are still standard of care twenty five years later and credited with saving millions of deaths from HIV/AIDS. In 2001, she moved back to industry where she directed the Cancer Biology program of EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals. The company focused on the development multiplex diagnostic epigenetic and proteomics expression technologies for the prediction of Immune Related Adverse Events to chemotherapy in susceptible populations. In 2006 she co-founded and developed the first neuroimmune research institute dedicated to understanding the pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. In five short years, she won more than 6 million dollars of NIH/DOD competitive funding in grants and contracts for this program. In 2009, Drs. Ruscetti and Mikovits' labs isolated for the first time a new family of human retroviruses then identified as XMRV. In 2012 it was learned XMRV was a contaminant of the Silverman lab and the XMRVs isolated were a new human exogenous and transmissible retrovirus family, which are strongly associated with neuroimmune disease and cancer. This new family of pathogenic human retroviruses is now called HGRV. Dr. Mikovits has co-authored more than 50 peer reviewed publications and book chapters and the book Plague.